As part of our work in the Baltimore Ecosystem Study, we have been studying the factors that determine how ecology is taught. The conceptual framework for this work is shown in the two figures below.
In the Ecology Teaching Study, high school teachers in Baltimore City and County public and private schools were surveyed with about the methods they use to teach ecology and the topics they emphasize. In addition, they were asked about their motivation for teaching ecology, and the various factors that support or constrain their knowledge, teaching approaches and practices.
In the Responsive Teaching Study we are working with University of Maryland-College Park colleagues David Hammer (PI), Janet Coffey (a co-PI on the BES LTER grant) and Andy Elby, to examine how high school teachers adapt curriculum materials and their teaching strategies in response to their students' thinking. Our portion of the project focuses on ecosystems and involves videotaping classroom and field teaching, frequent meetings with the eight Baltimore City and County teachers in our team, and assessment of student learning. We are integrating our work on the Environmental Science and Ecosystem Literacy projects to provide the teachers with frameworks based on "big ideas" in ecology.
You can learn more about both projects at the Baltimore Ecosystem Study website.